On this slow-news Friday, I’m going back through archives to see what stories I may have missed. This one, a two-part series from Saudi Gazette on Islamophobia, is one that I should point out.
While not a thorough refutation, it does provide useful information. It would have been vastly improved had it addressed more of the concerns of non-Muslims about Shariah law and about Islamic practice, whether or not authentically Islamic. Highlighting only the positive is great for cheering on people who already agree with you. It does nothing positive for those who are ignorant, frightened, or overtly hostile.
Some of those holding hostile opinions may never been convinced of their error. Others, particularly the fence-sitters, need to have their concerns addressed if Islamophobia is to be diminished.
Islamophobia’s impact on the world
“It just seems now that all we ever get in the media is Muslims and Islam. The working class seems to have been forgotten. (Some) 25 years ago, I didn’t know what a Muslim was or that Muslims followed Islam. Now we can’t escape hearing about Muslims.”
– A disgruntled reader commenting on a recent Guardian piece
NEGATIVE coverage of Islam and Muslims in the media is no secret and it’s making people averse to Islam, not to mention the amount of hassles innocent Muslims are facing with authorities in non-Muslim countries. The revelations of how MI5 is blackmailing British Muslims; the case of award-winning Pakistani writer, Mohammed Hanif, being detained for over two hours at New Zealand airport last week; the case of Indian actor Mammootty being grilled for two hours at New York airport earlier this month; and the dramatic arrest and subsequent release of 12 Muslim students in Britain over suspicion of terrorism last month are examples of what is happening everyday around the world.
Further, communities are totally disconnected from the reality and truth about Islam and Muslims. A joint survey by Gallup and Coexist Foundation published in the first week of May 2009 found that European Muslims are more loyal than other citizens to their respective countries. But only a small percentage of non-Muslim citizens trusted Muslim citizens for their loyalty. For example, 76 percent of British Muslims believed in the integrity of the justice system as opposed to 55 percent of the general populace and 82 percent of them said British Muslims were loyal citizens, but only 36 percent of their neighbors believed Muslims were loyal citizens. What a total disconnect!
Do read the second part of the article, too: